In 2011, many photographers expressed outrage when their images vanished from the site without warning.

Owner Snappy Designs Ltd only admitted that had hit the buffers when Amateur Photographer tracked down its boss Stephen Dyer, a director of the company.

Estimates at the time suggested there may have been up to two million pictures stored on the site, with thousands of active users.

Last year, photographers raced to recover lost pictures when they were told they could download them once again.

However, it is no longer possible to retrieve images for free.

A statement posted on the site confirms that access was ‘deactivated’ on 28 February, adding that a ‘charge will be made for accessing individual photo libraries’.

The website does not immediately make clear how much it will cost photographers to recover their photos.

At the time of writing, the site’s technical team had not responded to an emailed request for comment.